Have you heard of this guy, Wim Hof?
Well if you haven’t let me do a little run-down. This guy has said that he can essentially change the physiology of his body by simply breathing. He has run marathons in the arctic circle barefoot, gone into icy waters for MINUTES at a time, runs around naked in the dead of winter, and credits all of this to his particular “Wim Hof Breathing Technique”. He even got the nickname “The Iceman” by doing incredible feats in the cold. Some people think he’s crazy, other people follow him to nearly cult-like status. He even claims that he has scientifically proven that his method of breathing changes his body.
Why Deep Breathing, Anyways?
Deep breathing techniques (Wim Hof or not) have been proven to reduce anxiety, decrease depressive moods, increase productivity, lower blood pressure, reduce headache tension, help with PMS, and even give your immune system a boost!
Wim Hof has his own version of deep breathing. This particular method of breathing consists of multiple rounds of consecutive deep breaths, followed by letting all the air out and holding from anywhere between 1 minute to 3 minutes (or longer!), and then a quick intake of air. This process of breathing is INTENSE.
When I started with the WH method, I was really looking for something that would help with my anxiety and also something that I wanted to really FEEL. And boy, did I feel it.
The First Time I Did Wim Hof
The first time I did Wim Hof breathing, I was someone who easily panicked at anything that felt abnormal to my body. My hands started tingling, I could hear my heartbeat and I started FREAKING.
But then, I realized- it’s my breath, and I have full control over myself and how I breathe (and isn’t that a good metaphor for life?!).
It was surreal. I felt like my body was floating. But after I had stopped panicking, I was the most relaxed I had been in literal years.
I kept doing WH with a goal of once a day. The beginners WH video is only 11 minutes long, so I tried (and still try) to fit it in either on my lunch break or right after work.
I’m not going to lie, I struggled to get through the first minute of breath-hold for a while, but each day I could go longer, and longer, and longer. I can confidently say, I can get up to 2-minute breath-holds now!
Improvements I Noticed With The Wim Hof Method
- Increased movement ability- I found myself able to walk farther, and workout longer without losing breath as quickly.
- Decreased anxiety – I got panicky less often, and reverted back to breathing as a mechanism when I started feeling the anxiety creep up.
- Better sleep – if I did WH right before bed, it was easier for me to fall asleep faster
- Better meditation experiences – my mind was able to meditate better, allowing myself to relax fully
- Deeper Relaxation – relaxation, in general, is difficult for me and with the Wim Hof method, I found that I was able to relax easier, and with more purpose.
How I Use Wim Hof’s Breathing Technique Now
While I am in a much healthier state of mind than I was when I first started, I like to supplement my self-care with Wim Hof breathing. I try to add it into either my morning routine or some time throughout the day as a good reset on my mood.
Overall, I think the WH Method is extremely beneficial, and I recommend it to anyone who asks about deep breathing. If you are looking for a deep breathing method that you can actually feel, WH is the method for you.
Have you tried the Wim Hof breathing method? Let me know in the comments below!